Responses to “Strain on 1914”
A few days ago, I responded to some false statements concerning Brother Russell being given at e-prophetic.com; the name of the article is “Strain on 1914” by R. Jerome Harris. CLICK HERE to see the article, my replies, and the author’s replies. The author does not actually address what I posted, but rather repeated presents strawman arguments which he can conveniently knock over. Since I do not wish to flood the comments section of that article with a lot of links, I have decided to respond to the author’s statments here. Evidently, the author is not a believer in the ransom for all as did Brother Russell, and as those associated with the Bible Students believe. Indeed, Harris’ statements indicate that he has a wrong view of what Russell believed and taught. If he wishes to retain those wrong views and not really investigate the facts, that is up to him; my responses are for those who wish to know the truth, and I allow the others to go on their way.
In my first response, I tried to be as brief and to the point as possible, and without getting personal; knowing that most blog owners do not like response with URLs, I did not post any links to any of my sites, except that which was allowed in the form itself. I present my first response below:
Charles Taze Russell was indeed the founder of the original Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society; however, he was not the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization. Russell did not believe in any such authoritarian organization; additionally he preached against the kind of “Armageddon” message that the JWs proclaim.
Russell disclaimed being a prophet, and never gave any prophecies; however, he died in 1916 rejoicing in seeing his expectation that the time of trouble did begin in 1914 as he had expected (which had been his main expectation regarding 1914 since 1904).
Russell did indeed believe that he was a mouthpiece for God; additionally, he said that all Christians are mouthpieces for God.
Yes, Rutherford wanted to use the Bible prophecies to bolster his “Jehovah’s Witnesses” dogma, so he rejected the overwhelming testimony that had been presented by Russell and others so as to make the prophecies appear to apply to his alleged “Jehovah’s visible organization”. However, by 1928, the vast majority of the Bible Students had rejected Rutherford’s alleged “Jehovah’s visible organization”; they did not become members of Rutherford’s organization, nor did they take the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
Russell, on the other hand, did not speak for any such authoritarian organization, and he did not seek to beat his fellow-servants to make them agree with him. In other words, he allowed his fellow-servants to disagree with him, and even at times presented other views that he himself did not endorse.
See my site for more…
Rather than actually addressing anything that I stated, Brother Harris responded by saying that this is not correct, and then presented what is, in effect, a strawman argument regarding the legal entity The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, etc. He seems to confuse the legal entity, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, as it existed in the days of Russell, with the “religious organization” of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is a common misconception, since this is basically what most of the Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves do.
Nevertheless, in his response, Brother Harris began to give false judgmental conclusions about me that I felt I had to respond to. It was he, not I, who brought it this to a personal level.
My second response was:
What I presented is correct; nothing you gave shows otherwise. The legal entities that Russell formed were not meant to be a “religous organization” such as Rutherford created after Russell died. In the days of Russell, those who made up the association of Bible Students were not necessarily legal members of either the legal entity known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, nor of the legal entity known as International Bible Students Association. They were definitely not considered to be members of a religious organization of either of those legal entities. Many of them had voting shares in the legal entities, but, from Russell’s standpoint, Russell did not deem them to be members of any outward religious organization because of their having such voting shares.
In 1915, Russell published in Bible Students Monthly, Volume 7, Number 9 (1915), Under the title, “The Catholic Church — St. Peter’s Kingdom Keys, statements to the effect that no such “outward organization” is the true church. Russell did not recognize, and he actively preached against, the kind of “religious organization” that Rutherford created after Russell died. The Bible Students in general did not become members of the Rutherford’s new organization. The works that were presented by various authors amongst the Bible Students of that time show this. Morton Edgar, for instance, around 1928, stated:
The word “organisation” does not occur in the Bible, and its use is apt to mislead. The Scriptural word is “kingdom”; and our Lord distinctly said that “the kingdom of God cometh not with observation”—with outward show—Luke 17:20. Therefore there is no “visible organisation of God on earth,” as is claimed by some to their undoing.
How often Brother Russell warned us against this very thing, and how foolish we shall be if we do not heed his warning. We shall indeed be foolish if we claim that “only through our system or organisation will the heavenly Father accept praise and service”; for this would make it appear necessary for every spirit-begotten child of God to “bow the knee” to the few who have constituted themselves heads of the organisation. The apostle shows that it is only the carnal, fleshly mind that is deceived by such unscriptural claims—1 Cor. 3:1-6, 18-23….
I for one entirely repudiate this talk of “God’s visible organization on earth” during this Gospel Age. It is dangerous talk, and gives rise to all kinds of persecutions and ungodly claims, as anyone who has consecrated reasoning powers can see…. If there was one thing that our dear Brother Russell warned us against, more strongly than any other, it was this very thing. Brother Russell never made any such claim for the “Society” when he was here in the flesh and amongst us, for he knew better. But Judge Rutherford, apparently, does not know enough to keep himself clear of it. In the very first chapter of the first volume of “Studies,” Brother Russell speaks of this “false idea that the nominal church, in its present condition, is the sole agency” for the recovery of the world from sin. — Published in “Gleanings From Glasgow”
No, I have known and talked to many Bible Students who lived through that time. They held no concept of leaving a religious organization such as the “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. They never were members of such an organization to be begin with.
In Russell’s day, the term International Bible Students Association was used in two different ways: (1) it was used of the Bible Students movement in general and was not a legal entity; (2) then, in 1913, Russell and his associates created the legal entity in London by the name of “International Bible Students Association”. This did not mean that the International Bible Students all of a sudden became members of the legal entity. Later, before he died, Russell evidently realized that this could cause some legal issues, and thus, he suggested that local ecclesias not use the term “International Bible Students” as the name of their local congregations, but rather to use “Associated Bible Students”.
After Russell died, Rutherford, by means of deceit and legal trickery, was able to take control over the two legal entities, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and the International Bible Students Association. Within a few weeks, the word “organization” began to often appear in the pages of the Watch Tower, but this was done in such a way that most Bible Students were not aware of the implications until the mid 1920s, when Rutherford began to demand the independent congregations of Bible Students had to submit to him, in accordance with his new “Jehovah’s visible organization” dogma. The vast majority of the Bible Students did not submit themselves to Rutherford, and thus, DID NOT BECOME members of Rutherford’s new organization. They did not leave an organization which they never recognized, nor believed in.
See my site for more details and documentation:
I will say that any Bible Student who is worshiping Charles Taze Russell would be in a condition of self-contradiction, since Russell preached against such. Any Bible Student who gives more weight to words of Russell than the Word of God is in self-conflict, since Russell preached against that also.
Those who know me and my writings know that your judgment of me is not true. I do believe that God used Russell to bring forth many truths out of the storehouse, the Bible. I believe, as he did, that every true Christian should be a mouthpiece for God, in telling others about Jesus and his God, and what they have done for mankind.
The closest to becoming “personal” here is the phrases “nothing you presented” and “your judgment of me”. Otherwise, I did give the facts, which Brother Harris, in his response, again ignored.
Brother Harris stated that Brother Jesus’ words carry far more water than “Brother Russell”. The implication of this statement is that I believe that Russell’s words ‘carry more water’ than the words of Jesus. Actually, I agree with the statement that Jesus’ words carry far more water than Brother Russell. The statement represents precisely what I believe; it is also precisely what Brother Russell believed and what he taught others to believe.
In reading [The Studies in the Scriptures] the first time, and perhaps the second time, and before we would accept anything as being our own personal faith and conviction, we should say, “I will not take it because these studies say so; I wish to see what the Bible says.” And so we would study the Scriptures in the light of these SCRIPTURE STUDIES; we would prove every point, or disprove it, as the case might be. We would be satisfied with nothing less than a thorough investigation of the Bible from this standpoint.
“SCRIPTURE STUDIES” NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE BIBLE
One should refresh his memory, and, in fact, should see that his every thought is in harmony with the Bible – not merely in accord with the SCRIPTURE STUDIES, but in accord with the Bible. — Is the Reading of “Scripture Studies” Bible Study?
See also what I posted on the Focus on Charles Taze Russell site:
Did Russell Claim His Writings to be Superior to the Bible?
I was asked as to what is it with this “Russell says”, stuff? Whatever the intent of this question, how can one show or explain what Russell did say without showing and or explaining what he did say?
The claim is made that the Most High God did not send a “Brother Russell,” he sent His Son. Again, whatever the intent of this statment is, it would imply that I place Brother Russell on the same par with Jesus, which I do not. I believe, as Jesus taught, that every child of God is sent by God through Jesus. (John 17:18) I also believe that God sent his Son to be our Lord and Savior, and to save the whole world (John 3:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:9,10); I do not believe that God sent Brother Russell to be our Lord and Savior. I believe that through Jesus, God sent the apostles as special mouthpieces to the church. I believe as did Russell, that the only authority in the church is Jesus and the apostles, whose words we find recorded in the Bible. Russell did not believe that anyone, not even himself, had been appointed to have the authority over the church.
It is claimed that I am defending “Brother Russell” a man, and the statement is made by Brother Harris that he defends and champions what Christ taught. This, again, would leave the implication that I place Russell above Jesus, and I do not defend and/or champion what Christ taught. I do indeed defend Brother Russell, a fellow-servant in the Master’s household, because, in his time, Brother Russell himself was one of the foremost defenders of what Christ taught and was one of foremost champions for Christ. At the same time, Brother Russell never claimed to be perfect; he never claimed that everything he stated was without error. Is there any author of his day or our day that can legitimately claim that there is absolutely no error in every word that they speak or write?
I believe that the Bible is correct, I do not claim to know the truth about every detail presented in the Bible. I do believe that God has allowed me to understand that Jesus has died for both all us, for Adam, and for the whole world dying in Adam, and that he is now selecting the seed of Abraham that is to bless Adam and all who are now dying Adam — after Satan is abyssed, and that all this results to the glory of God.
See what I have written:
The Faith Once Delivered
Understanding Kingdom Mysteries
Jesus Saves the Whole World Condemned in Adam
I certainly do not look to Russell for salvation, nor do I look to any organization such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses for salvation. Nor do I know of any of the Bible Students who would believe that Russell is their salvation, or any human organization is their salvation. Indeed, it seems to me that most of the Bible Students appear to shy away from “organization”.
See my site: Focus on the Atonement
I agree that it is God who makes seeds of truth grow; if one is not yet ready to understand any truth, then that one will be enlightened in the age to come, when the whole world will be made to see that truth.
The Restoration of All Things
Mankind’s Coming Day of Judgment
The Ransom For All
Mankind’s Course to the Day of Judgment
I agree with Brother Harris that religious organizations creates hardened hearts. Thus, like Brother Russell, the only “organization” I recognize is that of Jesus as being the head of the church, through the apostles, and that each local congregation should take care of its own affairs without being under subjection to any council, governing body, or any earthly central authority, except Jesus and the apostles through the Bible. No one else has been given the authority take over that headship, not Brother Russell, not myself, not the Watch Tower Society, not the Dawn Bible Students Association, not the Pastoral Bible Institute, nor anyone or any human institution or organization, nor any council, synod, conference, governing body, etc.
I am not sure what is meant with the statement that my history is “one of violence and imposition”. It is evidently meant to be directed to the history of the Bible Students.
There has been a lot of conflict, even as there was in the first century, as the spirit of “sectarianism” often develops. Even Jesus was betrayed.
Nevetheless, without any reference as to exactly what is meant by the statement, I am not sure how to respond. I, however, do not wish, as do the JWs, to preach any organization, other than the organization of Jesus as the head of the church.
CLICK HERE for my own views on Sectarianism.
Bother Harris appears to somewhat saturated with the JW/Rutherford concept of “oranization”, and thus seems to not really understand who the Bible Students are and what they believe. From his statement, he certainly appears to be not understand what I believe. He seems to think that I have been trying to force him to join some sectarian “organization” that I do not even believe in. When I responded with my initial comments, I only wished, in love, to correct some errors in Brother Harris’ perceptions of Brother Russell. If my humble submission of the facts is being misinterpreted as being arrogant, so be it. I leave it in the hands of God.
Neverhtless, if one has been justified in Christ, then I have no need to tell that person to repent so as to be justified, irrespective of what denominational ties he may have or not have, or whether he agrees with me on all matters or not. Additionally, if a person belongs to Christ, and that one is committing a sin for which he or she can be forgiven, I pray for the repentance of any under such circumstances; if one is a new creature that is committing the sin that leads to death, however, then there nothing I can do to lead that one to repent, for there is no more sacrifice for sin for such. — Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-29; 1 John 5:16,17.
1 John 4:1 – Beloved, don’t believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
The only way to test the teaching of any is by the word of God, which is what I do.
I do not belong to any religious “organization” called International Bible Student Association, nor Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. I do not view the Bible Students movement as a “religious organization” as that term is usually used. Russell never once spoke of the association of Bible Students themselves as being a “religious organization”. He did say:
Beware of “organization.” It is wholly unnecessary. The Bible rules will be the only rules you will need. Do not seek to bind others’ consciences, and do not permit others to bind yours. Believe and obey so far as you can understand God’s Word to-day, and so continue growing in grace and knowledge and love day by day. — Concerning Profitable Meetngs
As I stated before, the phrase “International Bible Students Association” was used in two different ways: (1) in reference to the asssociation of Bible Students worldwide, and (2) as the legal entity that was formed in England. Brother Russell did not consider the former to be an “organization”, but the latter, being legal entity, he did, on a few occasions, refer to as an “organization” in the sense of similar to a corporation. However, in the latter sense, the International Bible Students were not members of the legal organization that exists in England. In the latter sense, in 1915, Russell stated concerning the Bible Students Association: “There would be nothing to come out of, as an organization, if one is an International Bible Student. You cannot get out of anything that you have not gone into.”(1) By this statement, we know that Brother Russell, as late as 1915, did not believe that the International Bible Students as a movement was an “organization”.
I accept as scriptural truth what I have proven to myself from the Bible. I accept what Brother Russell says, or what Morton Edgar says, or what Martin Luther says, or what Matthew Henry says, or what John Gill says, or what Adam Clarke says, or what Albert Barnes says, or what John Calvin says, or what Matthew Easton says, or what Charles Spurgeon says, or what William Smith says, or what Robert Young says, or what James Strong says, or what Brooke Westcott says, or what Fenton Hort says, or any other Christian might say, only in that any of them may lead me to a clearer understanding of the Bible and greater appreciation of Jesus and his God. I would not accept, anything that I have proven to not harmonize with the Bible, and that includes anything presented by Brother Russell. Nor do I accept what any man may say that I know to be historically incorrect, misleading, and/or misrepresentative of any of these men, including misrepresentations of Charles Taze Russell.
In the present age the truth is still trampled upon and often so distorted that what is false may appear to be truth, and what is truth may appear to be false. Satan and his ministers are still masquerading as messengers of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14,15) The world is still under the blinding influence of Satan. (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9) It is not yet time for the world to be englightened with the truth, and it will not be as long as Satan is blinding the minds of people. (Revelation 20:1-3) Even many who belong to Christ spend all their lives as babes, and thus remain blinded to the a full understanding of Biblical truth; these also will need further englighenment after they are raised in the last day. (1 Corinthians 3:1) The world is still blindly waiting for that day when the sons of God will be revealed, and the bondage or corruption will be lifted. — Romans 8:19-22.
Whatever Brother Harris’ judgment of my confidence in the truth might be is irrelevant, for truth is truth regardless; Satan has his agents who are very clever in distorting the truth, and making what is false appear to be truth. Having studied many works of Bible Students for more than 50 years, including those of Russell, I know what I know, and by what I know I do confidently respond based on what I know concerning whatever anyone might say about Brother Russell, or the Bible Students, etc.
Brother Harris claims that I am agitated. It is Brother Harris’ agitation over my factual responses that I am concerned with, in which he has not actually addressed most of the facts I presented, but rather, he keeps setting up strawman arguments, which he then proceeds to knock down, and/or he continues to distort and misrepresent that facts.
My resonses to his alleged facts:
FACT: The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, as originally founded by Charles Taze Russell and his associates, and as he intended for it to be after his death, no longer exists; it was virtually destroyed within a few months after Russell died. Of the original Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society, Russell stated that “is not a religious but a business association.(1)” In 1915, Russell stated:
The Society is a business organization for religious work in the service of the Lord, by printing books, pamphlets, charts, etc., and by sending out its representatives to preach–by word of mouth and by printed page. This is its only business. It is acting in the same way as did the Church at Antioch, who especially chose Paul and Barnabas to do a missionary work, and who voted these to be representatives of that Church.–Acts 13:2,3.
When Paul and Barnabas went forth, they did not say, “We preach in our name.” They would have had a right to go in the name of the Lord and preach; but, in addition, they had the financial backing, we understand, of the Antioch congregation, just as today our representatives have the backing of the Society. When they go to a place, they can say, “Here is a letter which shows that we are acting for the Society.” So they do not go simply in the name of Christ, but they go as representatives of this Society, which is known to be doing an evangelizing work.(2)
“The Society”, during the days of Russell did not send out pilgrims for the purpose of bringing the congregations under any central authority as is done by today’s WTS; indeed, pilgrims were not sent to any congregation that did not request such services.
FACT: Yes, Charles Taze Russell did indeed start the Watch Tower magazine as his own magazine, and, as had been agreed upon with the Board of Directors, Russell had full control of the magazine until his death; thus, Russell many times referred to the Watch Tower as his magazine. Upon his death, controllership was to go to the Board of Directors, but this was deceitfully thwarted by Rutherford, who deceived the shareholders into thinking that the Society would cease to exist if they did approve his new by-laws, for which they voted without having ever read, simply trusting that Rutherford was doing the right thing. Thus, within a few weeks after Russell had died, the original Watch Tower Society as it was supposed to have been after Russell’s death no longer existed. When the majority of the Board of Directors began to realize what had happened, and were seeking to rectify the matter, Rutherford used a legal trick to dismiss the majority of the Board, and began a smear campaign against any who wished the original charter to be enforced. Initially, most of the Bible Students did not have the full facts, and thus were somewhat dismayed at what was taking place. As I stated, however, by 1928, the vast majority of the Bible Students had rejected Rutherford’s “organization” dogma — they never considered themselves members of such an “organization”, and they never took the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
See the following (I do not necessarily agree with all that is presented):
Rutherford’s Harvest Siftings
Harvest Siftings Reviewed — by P.S.L. Johnson
Rutherford’s Harvest Siftings 2
Another Harvest Siftings Reviewed — — by P.S.L. Johnson
An Open Letter to the People of the Lord in All the World Evidently sometime in 1917.
Light After Darkness — We I was first given a copy of this document back in the 1960s, the brother who gave it to me stated that the author over-exalted Brother Russell; thus, there is much in the document that I disgree with, but the basic history of the time is there.
Facts can be easily distorted and misrepresented; indeed falsehoods that contain a distortion of fact may be made to appear even more believable in the presentation of the “fact”, thus while presenting the “fact”, the fact is presented in such a way as to lead one to a false conclusion. The special issue of the Watch Tower magazine of April 25, 1894 shows that Russell, by agreement with Board of Directors, did indeed have full charge of the WTB&TS, but that this was to exist only until his death, when the provisions of the charter were to be carried out, and the Board of Directors were then take charge of the legal entity. Russell’s having control of the legal entity, however, should not be interpreted in light of what the WTB&TS is today; it did not mean that Russell was in control of a religious organization, or that Russell had full control over the Bible Students, or that Russell was had control over local congregation of the Bible Students. He consistently refused to take such authority, even until his death; and by his will, he had hoped to keep the WTB&TS free from taking such authority.
The reference to the Watch Tower of March 1, 1923 does not mean that Russell actually viewed himself as the Faithful and Wise Servant. Russell did allow others to hold that view; he himself gave several differing views at different times, but in none of them did he state that he personally was the faithful and wise servant. Rutherford was one of the foremost who heralded Russell not only as the faithful and wise servant, but also as a prophet, which Russell himself outright denied being. The fact that Rutherford claimed Russell to be prophet shows that he was, in fact, misrepresenting Brother Russell, since Brother Russell had flatly denied being a prophet several times. Thus, what Rutherford and his collegues claimed after Russell died is not actual proof. Rutherford evidently believed that his proclamation of Russell as the faithful and wise servant would help him gain control of the Bible Students through his “Jehovah’s organization” dogma by which he was slowly seeking to usurp more and more control over the Bible Students.
FACT: Russell did indeed believe himself to be a mouthpiece for God; the rest of the FACT is that he also believed that every true Christian should be a mouthpiece for God and Christ.
FACT: Russell’s Last Will and Testament shows that Russell did indeed have full control of the legal organization [not a religious organization such as the Jehovah’s Witnesse], and that after his death, what appeared in the magazine was to be approved by a committee; Rutherford disregarded that will and claimed authority that Brother Russell had sought to keep anyone from claiming in connection with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
FACT: The election for Rutherford was all prearranged by Rutherford and his supporters; Rutherford took over all the legal entities, including the IBS in England. Thus both legal entities ended up as tools for Rutherford’s “Jehovah’s visible organization”, in direct contradiction to what Russell taught and “wished.” Since both legal entities, the WTB&TS and the IBS came under the usurpation of Rutherford, they did not split. I do not know of anyone who says that Russell was not the founder of the WTB&TS. I assume that by IBS, you would mean one of the Bible Students, rather than the legal entity in England. If any Bible Student says such, he is in error. I have never made such a statement; Russell, however, was not the founder of the Jehovah’s Wintesses.
FACT: Both of the legal organizations, the WTB&TS of Pennsylvania, and the IBS of England, became tools of Rutherford, and part of the relgious organization that Rutherford created. Thus, being under control of Rutherford, they both came under the “central authority” dogma of Rutherford. The majority of the Bible Students (not the IBS legal “organization”), however, did not accept Rutherford’s new central authority dogma, and thus they never became part of the religious organization that Rutherford later named “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. The local church “organization” that Russell presented is almost the very opposite of the central authority “organization” that Rutherford created. Not only that, the Armageddon message that Rutherford created is almost the very oppositie of the good news of great joy that will be for all the people that Russell preached. No, it would be entirely misleading to claim that Russell was not the founder of that which he spent almost his entire life preaching against.
FACT: While many have misrpresented Russell as being a white supremacist, Russell was actually way before his time in presenting the scriptural facts regarding the races. Nevertheless, there are those who have taken certain comments out of context to make it appear that Brother Russell was a racist. In some cases, quotes are given out of context to make it appear that he was saying the very opposite of what he did say. See:
FACT: Since the Bible Students Movement is not an organization, it does not have a human “leadership” in the sense that an “oganization” may have; it has no central authority as does the JW organization. Amongst the Bible Students, I know several black authors who are regular contributors to the various magazines and periodicals published by the Bible Students.
FACT: Brother Russell, in following Jesus’ statement through the apostle to remain free of the world, did as the apostles did; he did not get involved in the politics of the world. If he had, he would to that extent have become part of the affairs of Satan, who is the god of this age, and would have been detracted from preaching the Kingdom. — 2 Corrinthians 4:4.
Did Russell speak up against racism? Yes, he did. His article on “The Negro Question“, actually takes a stand against the prevelant ideas in many of the Protestant churches of his day that the Negro was a beast, without a soul, etc. Indeed, I grew up in the South, and this idea was still strong in many of the churches at that time. Nevertheless, Russell dealt with the matter from a scriptural standpont, not by being a politcal activist.
The only organization, however, that Russell spoke for was the business legal entity, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (and its subsidiaries); he did not speak as a “central authority” of any religious organization, as does the “governing body” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The quote from “The Color Line Found Necessary” of The Watch Tower of April 1, 1914 is given, and sinister motives are applied to the statements given, whereas in reality, there is nothing at all wrong about what is stated. Russell did what was necessary in that instance to preserve the peace that was evidently being threatened mostly by those of the various “white” denominational churches; the only other alternative would have been to cancel the showing of the Photo-Drama, and thus no one would have benefited. So evidently, what many think Russell should have done was to give being a follower of Jesus so as to correct the wrongs of Satan’s world and to make Satan’s world a better place to live in, thereby doing what Jesus refused to, that is, to bow down to Satan.
In reality, to try to have forced intergration in the days of Russell would probably have resulted in such violence from the worldly-minded churchgoers in the various denominational churches that it would have subverted the efforts to obey Jesus’ command to preach the good news of great joy that will be for all the people to a cause of trying to rectify Satan’s world before he is abyssed. Neither Jesus nor the apostles tried to rectify the social ills of their day; nor did Russell.
FACT: Many states in Russell’s day had laws against blacks and whites meeting together, even in church services. This was true in the state I grew up in back in the 1950s. Thus, most church groups were forced into segregation. I find no evidence, however, that there was a general practice of such segregation in Bible Students congregations located in areas where such would be generally accepted by the public at large. I know that today, I find no segregation at all in the Bible Students congregations.
FACT: It is a fact of that time that most of the black people were not able to read and write. It was also true of many whites, but more so regarding blacks. Indeed, even in 1950s, it was rare to find a older black adult who could read in the area in which I lived. Thus, Russell’s statement of the fact is not a statement of racial prejudice, but simply a statement of way things were. It would have been a total waste of time, money, and resoures to distribute thousands of pieces of free literature to people who could not read what was being given to them, and this is what Russell was pointing out. Russell was not saying that one should not give an oral witness to those who cannot read, but that to try to witness to them in the Volunteer work (simply passing out free literature) would be useless, and waste of funds and time.
Not being with the JWs or any other such religious organizaition, and not seeing in the actual facts that which Brother Harris would wish me to see, I certainly have no reason to imagine that what Russell said was the result of the light being “dim” back then.
I am grateful that Christ is my Lord, and I listen to him as God commands; I do not want to be revered and worshiped nor do I seek a following behind a man. I do not preach Brother Russell, except as that Brother Russell preached Christ.
Neither the legal entities, the WTB&TS and IBS, were, in Russell’s day, a religious organization; nor do I view the Bible Students today as a religious organizaiton. Thus, the statements regarding such, at least with regard to my beliefs, is meaningless. Many times, however, I have been criticized as following one others percieve as being a dead man, that is, the Lord jesus Christ, and or the apostles, and/or Moses, or Isaiah, etc. Of course, Moses and Isaiah are indeed dead, they have not yet been raised; Jesus however is not dead, but the truth that he gave is recorded for us in the Bible.
If by the statement “Russell is not God’s mouthpiece” is meant to say that Russell is not such exclusively, with this I agree, and, I am sure Russell himself would have agreed.
I will end this with a quote (1915) from Russell:
JESUS THE ONLY WAY OF SALVATION, NOW OR EVER
The whole world is still out of relationship with God. They lie in the Evil One. (1 John 5:19, Rev. Ver.) God is not giving them an opportunity now. He is giving the opportunity only to those who have come in the appointed way, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Others are aliens, strangers and foreigners, “without God and having no hope in the world.”
Do we see the difference? Without knowledge we could not come. In the future the whole world will be enlightened. Knowledge is to be given them. It will be true then as now that no man can come unto the Father, except by the Son; that without faith no man can be received by the Father; that all must receive the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in Him. “There is no other name given under Heaven or amongst men” whereby any can be saved. But all will have their eyes and ears opened in due time regarding that Name, so that all may be saved, if they will. (Isa. 35:5) Thank God for this!
What has stopped the ears now? What has blinded the eyes? What has hindered men from knowing of God and His salvation? The Apostle Paul says, “The god of this world.” This god is Satan. Jesus tells us that Satan is “the Prince of this world.” How does he blind men’s minds? By misrepresenting God’s glorious character, putting darkness instead of light, error instead of Truth. Through misleading and deceiving, this great Prince of Darkness has sought to keep the people away from God. Why has he done this? The Apostle says, “Lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the Image of God, should shine unto them.” When the light of God’s goodness shines into a heart, it begins to scatter the darkness. If Satan can keep out the light of God’s goodness he will keep us away from God. But if this light gets into the heart, it will draw us nearer to God every day and hour.
POOR OF THIS WORLD CHIEFLY CALLED
It is a matter of great importance to have the eyes of our understanding opened, “that we may be able to comprehend with all saints,” as the Apostle says. The word “comprehend” means, to fully take in, to encompass. We cannot fully encompass. We cannot fully encompass God; He is too great. What can we comprehend, then, with all saints? On this subject of the goodness and love of God the saints are to have comprehension; other people will not get much on this subject. Are the saints brighter than other people? The Bible says they are not. “Not many mighty, not many wise, not many noble, not many rich, not many learned,” but chiefly “the poor of this world, rich in faith.” These are the ones who are to have the comprehension, which comes only to those who possess God’s Holy Spirit, received through His begetting. It is this that influences our minds. [HGL678] We have the same brains that we had before; but when the Holy Spirit begins to set things in order in our minds, when it gives new principles to work on, it enables us to produce better thought from these brains than would have been possible before. Thus our minds become more and more sound, just as under the hand of a master musician even a defective musical instrument might be made to yield something acceptable, which an inferior player could not produce.
The Apostle tells us that God has chosen the mean things of this world. It is a pretty hard expression to human pride, but it helps to keep us humble. This is what we need. The heady and high minded are not so susceptible to the influence of the Truth as are the humble class. It is to the humble ones that the Lord’s Word appeals; and they are simple enough to take it. The wise of the world say, “God did not mean that; He must have meant something else in harmony with my wishes and desires.”
The simple-minded take God’s Word as it is, and consequently receive increasing light. “God is light; and in Him is no darkness at all.” The Bible reflects His light. In proportion as we get this light from the Bible we can understand God’s love and Plan. — CLICK HERE to see the rest
In all things, may God be blessed!
[Charles Taze Russell: His Life and Times]
[url=http://items.rlbible.com/?p=1028]The Divine Plan of the Ages – An Illustrated Edition[/url]